Handmade Christmas Gifts – Candy Terrariums

Christmas candy jars DIY gift I wish I could say I thought this idea up, because it’s SO cute. I didn’t. I adapted this Easter idea into handmade Christmas gifts for my kids to pass along to someone special. These candy terrariums also make fun Christmas decorations or center pieces! They are quick and easy to make which means they are perfect Christmas crafts to make at a party! Here is how we made them and as a side note all this Christmas candy is seriously testing my resolve with my Whole30 challenge. If these are still around on Christmas day I think I may have a nibble or two! Here is how we made these candy terrariums.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some green and while candies, a foil Santa or snowman, and foil Christmas tree. I got all of our stuff at Target but you can find them on Amazon ( these are affiliate links)  here : Santa, Snowman . You will also need some double stick tape, a mason jar , and some baker’s twine ( dollar spot at Target… go now! No they didn’t pay me to say that I just love Target something fierce).candy terrariums for Christmas gifts

Start by putting double stick tape on the bottom of your Santa and tree. I had to put a few pieces.Christmas candy jars

Hold it down for a minute.christmas candy mason jars

Add the green “grass” we used holiday M&Ms that come in red, green, and white Christmas candy centerpiece

And the light dusting of snow!christmas craft mason jar candy scenes

Pop the lid oncandy jars for Christmas and tie some baker’s twine around the top. Seriously these are so easy and so cute! Also in the days since my kids have made these and they haven’t asked once for a candy. I think that the lid is a deterrent. Their gingerbread houses they made at the gym didn’t last nearly that long. Maybe they are sneaking them when I am not looking but I don’t think so.candy terrariums for christmas easy DIY gift

 

Books About Santa

All  our book lists contain affiliate links.

Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning by Cheryl Ryan Harshman  wasn’t what I expected , it was more. It’s written in the spirit of ” The House That Jack Built” and the text builds and builds starting with snow falling on a house as children sleep and ending with Christmas morning. What I wasn’t expecting is that the author tells the story of The Nutcracker , albeit a very simplistic version, in the rhyming text as well.  The illustrations of the Rat King are a little frightening but nothing that will prevent you from reading it.

How Santa Got His Job

How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practical story about Santa and how he developed the skills needed for his one of a kind job.  It starts with Santa as a young man and as he keeps bouncing from job to job he acquires skills like going in and out of chimneys as a chimney sweep with ease and without getting dirty,  develops a relationship with reindeer as a zoo worker and gets chubby eating all the food at a all night diner gig!  There are more but i don’t want to spoil the story. My son loved it, especially once the elves showed up, which was when the toys did too! I know when i was a kid I wanted to know how Santa got his job, and there are movies dedicated to this so this book  jumped on the bandwagon and did a great job , it’s very cute!

how santa lost his job

How Santa Lost His Job by Stephen Krensky is the second book by this author all about Santa. This time it’s about how he lost his job because of an over zealous elf intent on innovation. The elf is sure that he can invent a machine that can be more efficient than Jolly old St. Nick or can he? I love the commentary about how machines can’t really ever replace people and that being Santa is about much more than just delivering gifts.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Printables Pack { FREE }

FREE thanksgiving printables Are you traveling for Thanksgiving? Going over to a house for dinner where there is NOTHING for your kids to do?

Print this Thanksgiving Printables Pack out and have some fun and engaging activities for your kids to do on the plane or in the car. Pop it on our Easy Mini Chalkboard , grab some snacks, and hit the road! My almost 8 year old son helped me design every page including choosing the words in the word search, testing out the maze to make sure it wasn’t too easy, and brainstorming the ideas for the writing and drawing prompts. He’s a pretty tough critic so if he likes what we created I hope your kids will too. The pack is designed for kindergarten through 3rd grade but with help younger kids could do it and older kids might like it too. For another fun travel idea check out our Craft Supplies On The Go.

There are six pages including a word search, word scramble, writing prompt, drawing prompt, a maze, and a dot to dot picture.

Best of all it’s FREE. This time of year we can all use a lot of that.  We aren’t traveling this Thanksgiving but I think I am going to print a copy of the pack for each of my kids and keep them in my purse for restaurant waits in the coming weeks.

 

Click here to download —-> Thanksgiving Printable Pack

 

Christmas Tree Pencil Toppers Craft { great class gift }

how to make a pencil topper christmas craft

These pencil toppers crafts are a cinch to make  but the glittery foam makes them look super festive. What makes me feel even more festive is to think about how hard my daughter worked on these pencil toppers which will be her little gift to PreK classmates for Christmas. She goes to a church affiliated school so everyone celebrates Christmas but you could adapt this idea for any occasion. The real awesome part of this craft is the use of sticky back glitter foam which is great for glitter-phobes because they are way way less mess than glitter and glue.

christmas pencil topper gifts for kids

Gather your materials. You will need some glitter sticky back foam , some pencils, and scissors.

christmas tree pencil toppers tutorial

Start by tracing your triangles on the back of the green foam. Cut out 2 per pencil.

Christmas Tree pencil toppers class gift

Cut the other colors into strips. This will make it easier for your little artists to handle it and make it small enough to fit on the mini trees.

Leaving the backing on the trees start decorating. She carefully cut, fine motor activity and christmas tree pencil toppers

peeled back the backing and placed the small pieces. pencil toppers for kids

We had a whole factory going! christmas craft pencil toppers for kids

Once we made enough for the whole class it was time to sandwich them. Christmas tree pencil toppers for class giftsPeel the backing off the decorated side ( we didn’t decorate the back), press the pencil in, and sandwich. If there are pieces hanging over the sides you can snip those off no problem.pencil toppers christmas gift kid made Press hard. This foam will stay stuck together if you press firmly and hold for 20-30 seconds. We had 2 of our 14 open the next day but I grabbed an alligator clip and popped it on them for a few minutes and they are back together. Christmas tree pencil toppers for school class gifts

Pop these babies in a little bag topped with bakers twine and you have the perfect sugar free gift for your child’s classmates! Christmas tree pencil toppers encourage writing

 

Books About Christmas

All our book lists contain affiliate links.

rp_stickman-248x300.jpg

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson tickles my funny bone and my son thought it was funny and full of adventure too.  Stick Man is a happy stick who loves with his stick family until a dog grabs him and he ends up far from his family but determined to get home.  As the seasons change he is used as many things from a sword, a bat and even an arm for a snowman. After that he ends up in a fireplace just as a certain jolly old guy gets stuck in the chimney. This is a unique story we both enjoyed , you will never look at another stick in your child’s hands without wondering what it’s been turned into .

the_year_of_the_perfect_christmas_tree

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston made me cry. The story is about the hardships and love of one family torn apart by World War 1 as they prepare for Christmas with no resources. I love how strong the mother in this book is, she does the best he can with what she has, treks through snow to cut that big old Christmas tree down , and the part that made me cry uses her own wedding dress to make her daughter an angel costume for the Christmas pageant. Oh but that is not all she sacrificed, she  used the silk stockings her husband sent her from the war to make a doll for Santa to give to her daughter. The father coming home right as they were leaving the church service – once again starting my water works.  It’s an awesome story but probably too long for a group of kids , or toddlers , but perfect for a bedtime story for preschoolers on up. Also this book and the one previous were illustrated by Barbara Cooney , who captures such meaningful stories with her amazing work.

Bear-Stays-Up

Bear Stays Up for Christmasby Karma Wilson is such a heartwarming story about friendship. Bear is hibernating but his friends wake him up to celebrate Christmas. It’s not easy at first , Bear is super sleepy and wants nothing more than to cuddle back up and fall back to sleep.  They get a tree, decorate it, hang their stockings and sing carols. When all the other animals snuggle in and go to sleep Bear stays up. He is busily making gifts for all his friends, he is so busy he doesn’t even notice Santa coming and filling the stockings. He delights in the friendship and when his friends present him with a lovely quilt, he snuggles under and goes back to sleep happy and filled with friendship. This is such a wonderful book , I love it’s focus on friendship and the excitement of giving gifts!

After School Activity – Word Ladders Printable { Free }

word ladders literacy activity It’s conference week here and we have been so busy. I wasn’t going to post today until I saw this pin by Fun Games 4 Learning and was reminded of Word Ladders. I haven’t used them in many years ( since I was student teaching elementary school actually) but knew immediately my son who is home today would love them. So I made a quick and easy word ladders printable for him and thought why in the world am I not sharing this easy literacy activity with all of you. This is a perfect addition to our Learning After School series ( <— click to see the whole series). What I love is that you can play it the way that they suggest in the post as a game for two people or teams, or as an individual challenge with this printable.

Word ladder

Gather your materials. You will need a word ladder printable ( click on the image above and print) , a pencil, and a kid to do all the rest of the work!  I keep my printables simple so they don’t use up too much ink but you can make your own at picmonkey.com with as many cute graphics as you want!  To make this re-usable slip it in an acrylic document stand, or a document sleeve, and use a fine tip dry erase marker.word ladder supplies

 

Start by explaining that you are going to climb the ladder by changing just ONE letter in the word. With beginners doing a ladder together is a great idea. Then write the first word of their ladder to get them started. I find that when I let him do it he’d chose more obscure words and get stick a few rungs in. word ladder printable for after school activity

 

Next one is solo.thinking hard word ladder literacy activity for kids If you want more of a challenge set the timer and have your child go up against you in a timed race. Whoever writes down the most words in the time period wins!almost done word ladder activity for kids

 

Need a ladder idea for a much younger child? Check out our Ladder L letter craft!

 

Quick Link Supply List

This list includes affiliate links
Low-Odor Dry Erase Markers, Ultra-Fine Point
Avery Heavy-Duty Plastic Sleeves
Acrylic document stand

 

 

Baking Soda and Vinegar Color Mixing Activity

baking soda and vinegar color mixing My kids love making baking soda and vinegar science experiments. We’ve made many versions over the years but this one was probably my favorite. My four year old has been a little obsessed with color mixing and my son loves a good mystery, I decided to put these lessons together in a fun mystery for them to solve.  They had a blast doing it and playing with left over materials after too. For younger kids who aren’t up for solving mysteries don’t use colored vinegar just hide the colors in the baking soda and left them erupt. Just as much fun but simpler for little ones.

Gather your materials. You will need a container for each color, a small measuring cup for the vinegar, baking soda, a measuring spoon, red, blue, and yellow food coloring. color mixing with baking soda and vinegar science

Start by putting some baking soda into your containers. Add the yellow food color in one and red in the other. Cover with s little more baking soda so your child can see what color might be hiding under the baking soda.color mixing mystery for kids

Pop a few drops of blue food color in the vinegar. color mixing baking soda volcano

Invite your detective to come and help you figure out which jar has yellow food color and which has red. Explain that all you need is the blue to figure it out. My 7 year old got the concept right away and whispered the answers in my ear ( if it turns purple it’s red, green it’s yellow) he agreed to play along and was glad he did. color mixing mystery baking soda and vinegar volcano

My daughter poured the first one and at first it didn’t turn purple, I had too much baking soda on top of the red food coloring. color mixing volcano

We mixed it up and voila purple!  Then I prompted ” What makes purple? Your vinegar was blue…” color mixing mystery purple

“I know red was hiding!!”

The next jar was for my son. color mixing science experimentHe was playing it cool and could guess what would happen but he still loved it. My daughter was super excited to declare that it HAD to be yellow in the jar because the bubbles turned green!color mixing science mystery

After the mystery was solved I handed them the extra baking soda and vinegar and let them go hog wild. I was already going inside to let them play when I heard him say ” This is going to be epic!” so I clicked this shot.  A few seconds later the measuring cup was spewing and giggles were plentiful. hog wild

Books About Color Mixing

All book lists include affiliate links.

white-rabbits-color-book-alan-baker

White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker is a classic in my mind and if you have never read it you must. It’s not a complicated story, instead it’s a brilliant book and lesson about color mixing . The cover illustration of the bunny in the paint always makes me think of dyeing Easter eggs which is another great opportunity to teach about color mixing. Kids love this book and adults reading it will enjoy the fun and dynamic language used to describe the vibrant colors that the bunny plunges into.

little-blue-and-little-yellow

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni is a profound book with underlying commentary about race relations while the surface story is about little blobs of color who when squished together turn into one green blob! You’ll be surprised by how easily your preschooler will pick up on the connection between the two. In my PreK class I had more than a few kids make the connection all on their own.

mouse paint

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a cute little story about mice that get into paint and not only make a mess but discover what happens when you mix colors. Great for every day but even better when you are learning about colors specifically mixing colors.